Microsoft is interested in testing India’s capabilities in the field of blockchain technology. According to a report in economictimes, the leading tech company has decided to invest in Indian start-ups based on blockchain technology, Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles. These fields of operations are capable of generating enormous data and may use Microsoft product for its management.
Microsoft had a corporate venture arm in India controlled by employees from Redmond, US. The team has not been able to utilize the potential in the huge country, but it currently runs a start-up accelerator which empowers 12-14 upcoming companies in building a solid foundation for their business.
Microsoft’s global venture plans got a facelift when CEO Satya Nadella appointed Peggy Johnson as the global vice-president on August 5, 2014. She brought Nagraj Kashyap, a colleague from Qualcomm, to lead the operations and planned an office in India. The headquarters were relocated to Silicon Valley with running offices in London, Israel, New York and Tel Aviv.
Johnson stated, “We look largely around our core ambitions — cloud infrastructure, AI, machine learning (ML) and connectivity. But India is very unique because the productivity here is mobile only. We have learned a lot and look forward to learning more. We generally focus on Series A and B (funding), with a little bit of seed. But largely Series A and B and it is anywhere between $2 million and $10 million… It will be part of our global corpus.”
She is positive on reclaiming the company’s position in India by joining hands with promising start-ups and get in talks with venture capital firms to learn more about technological developments in the country. The company is looking forward to supporting start-ups that were eventually backed by huge corporate or venture capital firms. She further added, “Basically, we lacked a fund before. When the companies graduated from an accelerator, we did not have the ability to invest in them. So now we will have that option. We have that option in the US, in India.”
Samir Kumar, MD Inventus, says that corporate VC firms are generally not preferred by entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur can get information about a VC by any other entrepreneurs who dealt with it in the past. In most cases a corporate VC allows its employees to reverse roles according to the situations, but a VC employs a long-term fund manager.
As per a report in yourstory.com, Microsoft claimed to assist 650 India-based firms through its cognitive services, AI, machine learning platforms and AI to transform businesses in the country. Until now, Johnson has been an advocate for building start-ups just like she built her team from scratch. She praised her team for creating a highly diverse VC community.
Microsoft is a leading tech giant and has the capability and resources of creating business solutions for the complex Indian infrastructure. In any case, it will impact businesses to the core as chosen startups will be able to focus on developing their product more than anything else.